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Lekki Shooting: ‘We stand by’ our report, CNN replies Buhari’s govt

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Foreign media, CNN, has responded to the threats of sanctions by the Nigerian Government over its report on the shootings of #EndSARS protesters on Oct 20, 2020, at the Lekki Toll Gate.

Recall that Nigeria’s Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed threatened to sanction CNN after claiming, without counter-evidence, that the CNN report on the Lekki Shooting was fake, misinformation and inappropriate.

“Like everyone else, I watched the CNN report. I must tell you that it reinforces the disinformation that is going around, and it is blatantly irresponsible and a poor piece of journalistic work by a reputable international news organization… This is very serious and CNN should be sanctioned for that,” he in Abuja on Thursday.

Reacting to the minister’s statement, CNN appeared to be unmoved by his threat as they maintained that they will stand by their report.

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A CNN spokesperson said: “Our reporting was carefully and meticulously researched, and we stand by it.”

The foreign media reiterated on its website that “the report was based on testimony from dozens of witnesses, and photos and video obtained and geolocated by CNN.”

The firm added that it “verified photos and videos acquired from multiple eyewitnesses and protesters using timestamps and other data from the video files.”

According to the media outfit, they “tried multiple times to elicit comment from the Nigerian army and police” before publishing the report but “a Lagos State police spokesman(name withheld) declined to comment because of an ongoing investigation.”

Mohammed, in his statement on Thursday, discredited the source of CNN’s footage by saying that “CNN relied heavily on unreliable and possibly doctored videos as well as information sources from questionable sources to reach these conclusions,”

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CNN, however, stated that it consulted with “two ballistics experts” who also “confirmed with CNN that the shape of the bullet casings indicate they used live rounds.”

Recall that CNN, in its report, traced the bullet “casing to those used by the Nigerian army when shooting live rounds,” though Mohammed maintained that “the military did not shoot at the protesters at the toll gate” but” fired blank ammunition into the air.”

He also added, “anyone who knows anyone who was killed at Lekki toll gate should go straight to the judicial panel with evidence.”

Mohammed went further to reveal that the federal government continues to be “very satisfied” with the role played by security agencies — especially the military and police — through the protests.
“At this point, it is important to say that the Federal Government is very satisfied with roles played by the security agencies, especially the military, and the police all through the EndSARS crisis. They were professional. Even when their lives were at stake, they exercised uncommon restraints. Their professionalism saved many lives and properties.”
Meanwhile,  a presidential aide, Lauretta Onochie, alleged, without proof, that CNN lied in its report via a tweet on Thursday.
“I’m not upset that CNN lied to the world about my nation, Nigeria. I’m upset that they think we are so stupid that we will swallow their lies. We won’t be bullied into believing a lie!”, she tweeted.


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